Brandon Meriweather defends the way he hits
A month ago, Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was hit with a $42,000 fine for a helmet-to-helmet strike on Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
On Sunday, Meriweather might have exposed himself to the possibility of more punishment from the NFL after getting flagged twice for helmet-to-helmet hits in the Redskins’ wild, 45-41 victory over the Bears at FedEx Field.
“That’s a rule based on who’s watching,” Meriweather said. “One ref said it was good. One ref said it was bad. I think it’s going to be just like that with the NFL. I think one person will look at it and say, ‘He could have did this. He could have did that.’ And another person could say at full speed you don’t have time to think about that and it’s a good hit. It all depends on who’s watching.”
In the third quarter, Meriweather leveled Alshon Jeffery with a high hit. Then in the fourth, Meriweather launched himself into Brandon Marshall, momentarily stunning the Chicago star. The blow on Marshall was for hitting a defenseless receiver.
Since 2010, Meriweather has been fined at least four times for a total of $137,000 for illegal hits.
“The last two or three weeks, I tried everything possible,” Meriweather said. “I lowered my target. I stopped using my head; I’m using my shoulder. No matter what I do, I feel like I’m going to be in the wrong. If I hit you with my shoulder, and I slide up, they are going to say it’s head-to-head.”
Meriweather also said he doesn’t feel as though he’s being singled out.
“Am I being targeted? No, I don’t want to say that,” he said. “I would hope not. In a profession where … my play depends on how much money I make, I hope I’m not getting targeted.”
The seven year pro added: “They [are] trying to be safe. The only way to be safe is to do what they [are] doing. But at the same time this is tackle football. The job of a safety is to instill fear, and you can’t do that with pulling up."
Meriweather reiterated that he’s still not completely clear on what constitutes an illegal hit.
“Listen, you really don’t know,” he said. “I talked to [the NFL] about my last fine and they told me to go lower. And I did and I still got flagged for it. So I really don’t know. I feel like every hit that I took was a legit hit. I wasn’t trying to be dirty. I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody. I didn’t lunge with my head. I used my shoulder like they told me to do.”
Asked if he believed Meriweather could be facing a suspension, Coach Mike Shanahan said, “I sure hope not. Because I know it’s not intentional.”